or, Almost Not-Really Not-Even-Close-to-Being Famous
I haven't done a damn thing to jumpstart my acting career.
I spend more time sitting around wondering why not - which is otherwise known as making excuses.
- I'm still getting used to LA.
- I don't have any money.
- I don't know who I am.
There's some sort of mental- physical- EMOTIONAL- blockage. Something is preventing me from taking ACTION. After all, what do ACTors do ? They bloody ACT! And here I am, the picture of inaction, the poster child for sitting around on your ass and beating yourself up for not getting anything done until you're wallowing in such a state of self-abuse and self-hatred that it's all you can do to pick yourself off of the floor of your bedroom and leave the house in baggy sweats and big sunglasses to buy yourself a bottle of two-buck Chuck... (See this blog to know what I'm talking about - you won't regret it.)
What I've come to realize is that this business pushes you to separate yourself from your self.
... ... What?
But that sentence really does say it all. This is a BUSINESS and YOU are the PRODUCT.
It's something I've realized all along but have never fully understood - and still don't. In fact, I think that the light bulb that's gone on inside me is actually that I've been too focused on that notion. I've been slaving away at creating my "brand" - putting together my website and social media crap - building an ONLINE PRESENCE. But for some reason I've been working hard to keep "WHITNEY JANE LOVEALL" separate from Whitney Loveall... me, the person, versus this "object Whitney" that exists in cyberspace... except, she doesn't really exist.
No really, my online presence is getting me nowhere because the ass of my true self hasn't gotten off of the couch and actually DONE anything.
The older I've gotten (and I mean in the last two years), I've realized just how much of a perfectionist I am. I want certain things to be perfect, pristine... And all of my fickle nitpicking has truly gotten me nowhere.
Months ago, possibly before I even moved to LA, I read all of my friend Ben Whitehair's blog posts in his brilliantly insightful blog Playbills vs. Playing Bills. I read them and memorized them, and I even remember an article where Ben gives some great advice to the newbie (or any) Los Angelean actor. I did some research and looked it up again, and I'll quote him now:
As I sit here today, it seems like his short article in its entirety could have been written for me-- no, because of me. I'm even looking around now all shifty-eyed, embarrassed that a year ago I skimmed over this and arrogantly thought to myself, "I dunno, it's not that bad to make sure everything is perfect, after all, you have a certain reputation you want to put out there..." Or even more embarrassingly, "That's just not me." Pshyeah. Riight, says the girl who's been working on her website for over six months now.
I'm obsessed with my "brand" - with my "image" - with all those things that business school people talk about but that I just pretend to know about. I ask myself a thousand rhetorical questions, knowing full-well that there is no predictable answer:
"Do I do comedy? I think I'm funny... but no one else really does. Plus I'll have to take improv classes."
"Do I do drama? Guess I should learn how to cry on cue."
"Should I have long hair? That will make me look younger."
"Should I have short hair? I look better with short hair..."
"Would they cast me as a high schooler? No I'm too tall."
"Would they cast me as a single rom-com twenty-something? No I look too young."
"Will I get TV roles?"
"Will I get film roles?"
"Maybe I should just do commercials..."
"Am I the cute girl-next door? No I'm not pretty enough."
"Am I the bitch best friend? No I'm not cool enough."
"They want me to fit into a category, yet I have to be different enough to stand out."
"How do I make my headshots/website/twitter/facebook/business cards/post cards/breakdown services coordinate with this image I want to portray?"
"What IS the image I want to portray??"
"WHO. AM. I?!?!?!?!"
And it all comes down to that.
"Selling" myself as actor-product Whitney Jane Loveall is the same thing as selling the real Whitney Loveall... because after all, in this business we're not really getting cast in roles to act, we're getting cast in roles that most closely resemble our own personalities. There's too much of an essence about a person to be able to hide it from the camera. On stage, it's easier to become someone you're not. On film, your acting has to be too truthful to fudge it - the camera is a lie detector that can see right through you. And even if that's not the case, an audition doesn't really give you the time to stray too far from your true self. At least, that's my perception right now. As I'm writing this, I'm realizing that maybe my true insecurity is that I'm not a good actor... And that I fear people disagreeing with me, or worse - DISLIKING me.
But regardless, the point of this blog post is two things: one, to get these feelings (cough*insecurities* cough) out in the open. And two, to make a declaration that the separation between
church and state Whitney Jane Loveall and good ole Whitney Loveall is no more... I'm blurring the lines. At least a little more. No more "actor" Whitney and "waitress" Whitney - I'm just Whitney. So what if I say fuck and have pictures of college binge drinking on my facebook? That's who I AM. And maybe I'm still figuring out a LOT about myself otherwise, but the things that already are, I'm through trying to change. I can do dramedy! I can be a bitchy girl next door! I can have headshots with long AND short hair because I have extensions like everyone else in LA does, bitchezzz!! And I can own this here blog, (k)no(w) subject, and write it as myself and as my stage-self. Maybe people will (*gasp*) DISAGREE with this route. But if everyone knew how to do it, wouldn't they all be super successful? Besides, I shouldn't have anything to hide-- It's not like I'm famous... yet...